Natalie, I should have qualified my statement that Jews in the northeast keep Chinese restaurants in business on Christmas day :) Doesn't get much more multicultural than NYC. My high school was like the UN.
Cabbage. In my family the traditional meal of the first day is called Irish stew. Cabbage, Ham and potatoes, all boiled in water, with salt pepper and butter or sometimes margarine. But the key ingredient is cabbage. THis year i was traveling so i found htis place inthe atlanta airport that served boiled cabbage. If not no way could i have wrapped up the day until i got some, even raw babbage woudl have been fine, but its gotta be cabbage.
In the Philippines…basically 3 food groups: First is round fruits like oranges and grapes (signifies coins/money). Second is sticky foods like rice cakes (signifies “luck and blessings sticking to you” ha!) and third are sweet stuffs like chocolates, cakes and pastries (signifies “sweet” relationships). Nothing healthy with those foods nor diabetic friendly but most certainly delish!
Yeah, I've heard of the Chinese restaurant custom, and I definitely think it's a custom that should be exported! :-) All we ever did on Christmas day was be lonely, because our Christian friends were celebrating with their families, and my mother would not allow us to bother them. Several people have told me that we would have been welcomed and encouraged to join in the fun, but my mother didn't see it that way. She was also reluctant to let us go out on Halloween, but as we got older, we did it anyway!
At this point in my life, I'm thoroughly multi-cultural -- willing to enjoy ANYONE's celebration!
Gonna step out of my own tradition, and talk about my lovely experience with Japanese New Year.
There is always a celebration the evening before, when everyone goes to the shrine and listens to the 108 rings of the massive temple bell. They all come up to the shrine entrance, and throw money in the coffers and clap their hands to summon the gods.
Then on New Years Day, they have a wonderful feast. There is a decoration of 3 pounded rice balls with a mandarin orange on top. They eat lots of vegetables, like taro root, lotus root (looks like an old-fashioned telephone dial!), ozoni, which is soup made of miso and pounded rice balls, wakame seaweed, bamboo shoots, and lots of others I don't know the names of in English.
When I was living with a Japanese family, they insisted on dressing me up in a kimono -- I'm sure I didn't look as pretty as the Japanese girls look, but it was fun!
There is snow and ice on the ground now, but when it thaws a bit, I'm going to go to the Asian grocery and buy some fixings for ozoni -- and celebrate Japanese New Years on the wrong day.
And the Japanese New Year's greeting translates as "Congratulations on the New Dawn".
I spent Christmas with Christian friends as a kid. Went to Christmas mass also. What did your mom not like about Halloween?
My mother was raised Orthodox, with parents from the old world (thank God, they came here in the early 1900's and didn't stay in Europe!). And I think she was a little bit afraid of Christians -- the memories of European anti-Semitism and the loss of relatives in the Holocaust were passed down from my grandparents. So she didn't want us participating in what she saw as Christian holidays. So we didn't participate, even in the ones that are almost entirely secular, like St. Valentine's Day and St. Patrick's Day (the St. title is a giveaway) and of course, not Easter.
It bothered her greatly that I wanted to go to Japan for my junior year in college -- she would much rather I went to Israel. But, being as stubborn as I am, I just didn't tell her I had been accepted to both Israel and Japan -- I wanted to go to Japan, and I did.
I want a T-shirt that says "My ancestors were from Africa" because that's where we ALL come from -- and we're all human, and the best part of life is to enjoy each other.
Did your mother feel Halloween is a Christian holiday? I never participated in non-Jewish holidays, but my mother was fine with me going to church with Catholic friends as an observer. Debatable whether humans actually orginated in Africa. Fossil record from areas in Africa, but that may be due to where archaeologists have looked. Easier to dig in Africa than in Antarctica. There may no one continent of origin.
"chitlins" Natalie, ( "Chitterlings") Are the lower instentines of hogs. Back in slavery times, the field hands were given the organ meat left over from the slaughter to eat. They learned to clean it out ( gross) and prepare it. It has remained a "delicacy" in many African -American Homes, served with hot sauce.
I cannot stand them. Too rubbery, slimy, and stinky for me. And though my parents ate them on rare occasions, I never did. When I was 6 years old, I saw a next door neighbor cleaning some, fresh from the slaughter, and decided from the smell and from what I saw her take out of them( U Know what is in the lower intestines) that I would never eat them. U can buy them pre-cleaned and ready to be cooked, but they are still chitlin's.
Yesterday I had cabbage in the form of slaw at home, baked chicken and some cornbread at a holiday birthday party. No blackeyed peas yesterday, I forgot to cook them, as I hada couple of cans in the pantry and a bag of them in the cupboard. May put some in the crockpot before I go to church today.
I don’t think I want to eat that, either! But since Jews don’t eat pork, I have a good excuse. LOL!
Yes, she thought it was Christian, because it was the Christians celebrating it. But even if she had known it was Pagan (they weren't talked about at the time!), she wouldn't have wanted us to participate.
I learned something about Christianity by singing in an Episcopalian choir for 3 years (paid!!). It was very interesting, and the people were warm and welcoming, and never asked me to do anything I felt was not right for me to do. I really enjoyed listening to the sermons -- people's takes on moral and philosophical issues are very interesting. I'm glad I did it!
On Rosh Hashanah, there's also a tradition of eating tsimmes (a sweet beef stew made with potatoes, prunes and coin-sliced carrots -- the carrots representing gold coins) and of dipping challah (a semi-sweet egg bread, eaten ceremonially before all meals) in honey instead of salt.
The Other Half's Virginian traditions include the black-eyed peas, but not the green stuff (neither collards nor cabbage -- representing folding stock), although I won't cook them with ham ("bringing home the bacon"). Last year I used turkey "bacon", this year I used smoked turkey and added in coin-sliced carrots.